I was 50 years ago today, February 3, 1959, that we lost three men who would go down in history as the first of our generation to out in a blaze of glory - so to speak. I was fourteen at the time and I remember sitting at the kitchen table listening over and over to the radio reports of the crash. This is one of the first incidences that effected my life in a way that still bothers me today. I may post about it one day, not that you care or anything. It just did.
MSNBC had this to say in part:
"The wreckage of a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza was scattered across a small area of snow-covered cornfield outside of Clear Lake, Iowa. The plane crashed into the ground suddenly, so most of the smoldering rubble was concentrated in one area. Three passengers — Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, a.k.a. “The Big Bopper” — were ejected from the plane and died on impact, as did the pilot, 21-year-old Roger Peterson.
That happened on Feb. 3, 1959, exactly 50 years ago this Tuesday."
The thing that struck me the most about this article was the fact that the pilot was only 21 years old. I did not know that, and I wonder if lack of experience directly caused the crash. I mean, mid winter in the mid-west back in 1959 in an era that did not have the best of defrosting equipment? It goes back to the old saying, "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots; but there are no old, bold pilots."
Also, I guess most of you know that Waylon Jennings was one of the Crickets (Holly's band) and gave up his seat on the plain to the Big Bopper. Buddy was ragging him on taking the bus and Waylon's last words to him were, "I hope the plane crashes." It haunted him to his dying day.
I also wonder how famous Buddy and the other guys would be today if the crash had not happened. We will never know, but what I do know is, it affected my generation in a huge way. We found out we were not immortal.